Message From the Chair-up: Winter 2016/17

By Esther Navarro-Hall

What has NAJIT been up to lately?

My dear colleagues,

By now, most of you, if not all, have already visited our stunning new website. Its simplicity and functionality have placed NAJIT squarely in the 21st century as far as websites for professional associations go. Your board and administrators have stayed busy for months with the planning, designing and execution of this venture. We strongly believe NAJIT’s new logo and website add to our efforts to create a fresh look and a modern hub of information, discussion, and innovation for interpreting and translation.

Needless to say, this is the largest project we have undertaken this year. As proud as we are of this step in our association’s growth, however, there is much more going on that we’d like to share with you.

Our association has made great strides lately in committee work. During last May’s conference, we received such compelling offers to volunteer that we have barely been able to keep up with all the ideas, meetings and planning, specifically for some of the issues which you have told us are important to you. For example:

  1. We have discussed the plight of immigration interpreters and the challenges of indigenous language interpreting with various government entities, and our Immigration Interpreting and Indigenous Language Ad Hoc Committees are staying abreast of the latest developments and creating additional support documents.
  2. Our Advocacy Committee is currently working on a new initiative which will provide webinar training for colleagues interested in meeting with congressional staff the day before our 2017 conference begins (stand by for more information on “NAJIT’s Lobbying Day” in Washington, DC).
  3. Our Membership Committee has been hard at work striving to improve the value proposition of NAJIT membership, as well as re-designing some of our recruitment tools to reflect our new and improved look.
  4. Our Bench and Bar Committee is planning a session at our annual conference to train interpreters on how to present our bench and bar PowerPoint slides.
  5. We continue to support other organizations’ initiatives, such as Red T’s Open Letter Project. We are proud to say that NAJIT has now become a permanent signatory on this project.
  6. We are currently drafting a letter in support of the complaint filed by the Spanish Professional Association of Court and Sworn Interpreters and Translators (APTIJ) before the Spanish Ombudsman. APTIJ is currently seeking an investigation of the problems concerning the provision of interpreting services in Spanish courts and police stations, and NAJIT will be adding its voice to this petition.

Communication with our members and interpreters and translators at large is essential for efficiency and creativity in our association and within our profession. To this purpose:

  1. We have brought back NAJIT’s much-awaited listserv. If you have not had a chance to say hello to your colleagues or initiate a discussion about terminology or professional issues, among many other topics, we encourage you to do so as soon as you get a chance
  2. Our blog, The NAJIT Observer, is going strong with some amazing recent posts about skills development, challenging interpreting situations, and our popular “What Would You Have Done?” section.
  3. Our much-loved Proteus has a new online look and some impressive content.
  4. NAJIT’s e-mail announcements are now reaching thousands of colleagues around the world.
  5. Our new Job Board on NAJIT’s website is allowing clients and practitioners to post and view job offers from many sources.

In keeping with our enormously successful conference this year, preparation for our 2017 conference is in full swing. Some of the items you can look forward to:

  1. An outstanding key note speaker to inspire and motivate us all.
  2. A special day for advocacy activities in Washington, DC, on May 18th, for those of you who’d like to take full advantage of your stay in the area.
  3. A day packed with pre-conference training sessions, on May 19th, with new and engaging topics.
  4. A bus tour organized by our Conference Committee, NAJIT Administrators and one of our very own colleagues, to highlight history, the law, and court interpreting in the DC area.
  5. Authorization from many states to cover your CEU needs.
  6. A special invitation for attorneys, with possible authorization of CLE units.
  7. Our excellent presentations and panels, plus fun networking events.
  8. A lively exhibitors’ hall with books, technology, vendors and prospective employers.
  9. An incredible deal for one of the premier interpreting/translation conferences in the U.S. Our Call for Exhibitors and Sponsors is now open, and you can already make your reservations for our conference venue. At the $119/night rate negotiated by our terrific administrators, this is one of the best prices you’ll ever get for conference lodging in the DC area. Do not delay. Make your reservations soon!

A couple of additional items I’d like to share with you:

NAJIT’s 501(c)(3), the Society for the Study of Translation and Interpretation (SSTI) is taking on exciting and innovative projects. By the time this issue of Proteus is published, they will have revealed a remarkable first in scholarly research for the legal interpretation and translation community. I am sure you will agree that this is a worthwhile undertaking. Stay tuned for their next project!

Also, in keeping with one of NAJIT’s goals for this term, to become a stronger presence in the international community, I presented at the “X Simposio sobre la traducción, la terminología y la interpretación Cuba-Québec” at Varadero, Cuba on December 6-8. The title of my presentation is “Court Interpreting in the U.S. and the Role of Professional Associations.” Our participation in this symposium is sure to place NAJIT at the forefront of the nascent court interpreting and translation specialty in this beautiful country.

Empowering interpreters and translators is a personal passion of mine. We are thankful that, through the support of our incredible association and our fearless colleagues, NAJIT has embarked on this journey for the past few years. As your Chair, I will keep working hard to move us in that direction. Thus we are thrilled to provide our cherished members with some of the tools needed for this empowerment, and we are busy creating more. We hope you will join us in this journey and help us to continue making the world aware of the great need for our profession and for that language magic we do so well.

I hope you had a great holiday season and I am wishing you all the best in the new year.

In kindness and gratefulness,
Esther
Chair, NAJIT

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